Clarksville to power all city operations with solar energy

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 1,856 views 

Clarksville looks to become the first city in the state to power all of its government operations with solar energy after it installs a second solar power plant on more than 13 acres in the city this year, according to a news release.

City-owned utility Clarksville Connected Utilities announced Wednesday (May 29) it’s working with solar power developer Scenic Hill Solar of North Little Rock to build a 2.86-megawatt (MW) solar power plant. The plant is expected to start operating by the fourth quarter of 2019. The city previously partnered with Scenic Hill Solar to build a 6.5-megawatt solar power plant in 2017, and the plant has been generating electricity for 18 months, said John Lester, general manager of Clarksville Connected Utilities.

“The plans for a second 2.86 MW DC solar power plant in Clarksville will allow our municipal facilities to be powered by 100% solar renewable energy,” Lester said. “I’m excited at the prospect Clarksville will be the first city in the state to accomplish this goal. Both plants will save our customers money over the long term and both are power generation assets within the city’s footprint. Furthermore, this project positions Clarksville, Arkansas, as a place where businesses can expand and meet their corporate sustainability goals. With our flexibility related to power, we may be able to provide a 100% renewable energy contract to a commercial or industrial customer on our system. This is in addition to having the city’s needs fulfilled.”

“We are proud to partner again with Clarksville Connected Utilities,” said Bill Halter, CEO of Scenic Hill Solar. “With the two solar power plants, Clarksville will have more solar energy per capita than any city in Arkansas and further demonstrates that electric utilities can simultaneously lower costs for their customers, provide clean and sustainable energy, and provide economic development for their communities.”

Scenic Hill Solar will build, own and operate the solar power plant on land leased from Clarksville Connected Utilities. The utility will purchase power from the solar plant based on the terms of a 28-year power purchase agreement.

The plant is expected to produce 4.4 million kilowatt hours of electricity in the first year of operation and more than 123 million kilowatt hours of electricity over the next 30 years. It will contain more than 7,000 solar panels and use a fixed-tilt system. It’s expected to generate more than $5 million of economic development for the city and reduce carbon emissions by more than 86,900 metric tons, or the equivalent of driving 212 million fewer passenger vehicle miles.

The city of Fayetteville is building the largest solar power plant on city-owned land in the state.